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Trader's PS960,000 VAT fraud.

Byline: LIZ DAY Reporter

A SHOP owner with a chain of stores selling Formula 1 merchandise fraudulently claimed more than PS960,000 in tax repayments to keep his businesses afloat.

Peter Davis, owner of Formula 1 Teamwear Ltd, had a shop called Wheels of Sport at St David's shopping centre in Cardiff, with other branches in shopping centres in Liverpool, London and Glasgow. He also had two smaller shops in Brighton and a website.

The court heard Davis submitted 17 fraudulent VAT returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) between 2009 and 2013, falsely claiming repayments of PS961,307.

Investigators found Davis, who also traded as Lambretta in Cardiff and Glasgow, received subsidies from the shopping centres to fit out the shops but all his outlets failed, often leaving rent and rates unpaid.

The court heard some of his website customers were left without goods and out of pocket or having to submit claims to credit card providers.

Prosecutors said Davis also ran an Italian restaurant called Salerno's near Tower Bridge in London. He failed to declare about half of his sales there and falsely claimed PS58,507 in four VAT claims.

Davis, 58, of Woodyates Road in Lee, London, pleaded guilty to fraudulent evasion of VAT.

Sentencing him at Southwark Crown Court, Judge Michael Hopmeier said: "These were serious, sophisticated frauds carried out over a long period of time, by deliberate dishonesty and virtually from the start of trading."

Davis was jailed for four years and disqualified from being a company director for seven years. Confiscation proceedings will now begin.

Daren Cooley, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service for HMRC, said: "Davis lied over and over again to steal taxpayers' money to help fund his businesses and lifestyle. He foolishly thought he could carry on cheating the public by setting up new businesses built on a house of cards."

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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 26, 2018
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